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The start of the college football season is underway, and it’s time to look at some possible Heisman award candidates for this coming season. Last season, it was Oklahoma Sooners senior QB Baker Mayfield that took home the prestigious award, and there are plenty more options as candidates for the 2018-19 season. We have asked multiple members of The Athletes Hub team to give their take on who will take home the Heisman this season.
Hunter’s Pick: HB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Jonathan Taylor quickly made a name for himself last year during his freshman season at Wisconsin with his explosive runs. He finished the 2017 season third in rushing yards behind Bryce Love and Rashaad Penny with 1,977, breaking Adrian Peterson’s rookie rushing yard record of 1,925 set in 2004.
The last Badger to win the Heisman was Ron Dayne, who rushed for 337 times for 2,034 yards and 20 touchdowns in 1999. Jonathan Taylor could very well reach similar numbers that Dayne had back in the day. With a lack of wide receiver support in Wisconsin, Taylor is also facing a lack of competition after names like Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Saquon Barkley, Rashaad Penny, Mason Rudolph and Kerryon Johnson moved on to the NFL.
Judge’s Pick: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Alabama Sophomore QB Tua Tagovailoa came into a game where everything was on the line, and he seemingly handled it well. In result, it’s only imaginable what he could do during the season with the current weapons by his side. If Tagovailoa takes the job from Jalen Hurts, the potential is in place to put up special numbers. After bringing Alabama a National Championship, the ceiling for the sophomore is currently unknown.
Miles’ Pick: QB Trace McSorley, Penn State
After two consecutive years of throwing over 3,500 + yards and 28+ TDs, Trace McSorley has the potential to step out of Saquon Barkley’s shadow and showcase his own talent in 2018. If McSorley can put on solid performances against teams such as OSU, Michigan State and Wisconsin, he has to be in the conversation for the Heisman trophy. While Barkley was a major factor in 2017, McSorley should be able to adapt and fill in as the centerpiece of the Penn State offense.
Brian’s Pick: DT Ed Oliver, Houston
There are so many good quarterbacks out there who could win the Heisman this season, but I would take Ed Oliver over any of them. In his first career college game, he sacked Baker Mayfield twice, and in the same season, also sacked Lamar Jackson twice. He also has more tackles for loss (39.5) than any defensive tackle in the history of college football through his first two seasons. In addition to being arguably the best player in college football for his defensive abilities, he also scored a rushing touchdown in Houston’s bowl game.
If Oliver has a big game against Khalil Tate and Arizona in week two, it would set him up nicely to be the first defender to win the Heisman since Charles Woodson in 1997. Listed at 6’3″ and 290 lbs, Oliver has a similar physique to Aaron Donald in his senior season.
Kaleb’s Pick: HB Bryce Love, Stanford
The quarterbacks in this year’s race for Heisman are all great candidates, but I think Bryce Love is going to be the one who takes home the honor. Last season, in the place of Christian McCaffrey, Love had a monster season with 2,118 yards on the ground and 19 TDs. He flirted with entering the 2018 NFL Draft, but decided to return for his senior season and make another run at greatness.
He faces plenty of quality opponents this season to make a case for the Heisman in USC, Notre Dame and Washington. If he can keep his current pace from last year, or even improve upon it, Love makes a valuable case.
Ray’s Pick: QB Drew Lock, Missouri
After finishing top ten in the nation with 3,964 passing yards, as well as breaking the SEC record with 44 TD passes in 2017, Drew Lock decided to forego the NFL Draft to return for his senior season. Coming off a 7-6 season, due to a lackluster defense, Lock is entering the year with 25/1 odds to win the Heisman and has a big chip on his shoulder. Sitting atop the Heisman Watch are Bryce Love (7/1) and Jonathan Taylor (8/1), but quarterbacks have won 15 of the last 18 Heisman Trophies, including three SEC QB’s since 2007.
At the end of the day, Drew Lock is the most prolific QB in the more prestigious conference that gets more media exposure than any other conference in the FBS. If the defense can step up and Missouri pulls off a 10+ win season, Lock will be the one holding the Heisman Trophy come December.
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